2 Kings 14-17
(Eliminate those Idols or Else...)
April 20th

Produced by The Listening for God Ministry
Copyright 2016

Click here for a print- friendly version

Please refer to one or more Bible versions of your choice to read this section. We recommend that you read at least two versions for added understanding. For your convenience, we have provided six links below, each of which takes you directly to today's chapters in a specific version:

Key Verses

In the second year of King Joash son of Joahaz of Israel, King Amaziah son of Joash of Judah, began to reign. He was twenty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jehoaddin of Jerusalem. He did what was right in the sight of the Lord, yet not like his ancestor David.

- 2 Kings 14:1-3 (NRSV)

Summary of Chapters

These chapters record a rapidly paced account of a series of kings in Israel and Judah, some who succeeded their fathers, and others who grabbed power by force. Some were relatively good leaders, such as Azariah (also called Uzziah) and his son, Jotham, both of whom reigned in Judah. Azariah rebuilt the city wall, however, neither he nor the best of these kings failed to destroy all the idols.

The worst of the kings were outright evil, such as the one from Judah who sacrificed his son. Others were weak, such as Ahaz, also from Judah, who tried to pacify his enemies in Assyria by giving them treasure from the temple, and by taking apart pieces of the temple to build a pagan alter.

The kings in Israel (the northern kingdom also referred to as Samaria) were even worse than that in the eyes of the LORD. Their worship of false idols was chronic and they continually turned to other nations and their false idols to protect them instead of turning to the LORD. The LORD had sent many prophets to warn them, but nobody listened. Therefore, during the reign of Hoshea the LORD allowed them to be defeated by Shalmaneser and the people were deported to Assyria:

    The exile came about because of sin: The children of Israel sinned against God, their God, who had delivered them from Egypt and the brutal oppression of Pharaoh king of Egypt. They took up with other gods, fell in with the ways of life of the pagan nations God had chased off, and went along with whatever their kings did. They did all kinds of things on the sly, things offensive to their God, then openly and shamelessly built local sex-and-religion shrines at every available site. They set up their sex-and-religion symbols at practically every crossroads. Everywhere you looked there was smoke from their pagan offerings to the deities—the identical offerings that had gotten the pagan nations off into exile. They had accumulated a long list of evil actions and God was fed up, fed up with their persistent worship of gods carved out of deadwood or shaped out of clay, even though God had plainly said, "Don't do this—ever!"

    God had taken a stand against Israel and Judah, speaking clearly through countless holy prophets and seers time and time again, "Turn away from your evil way of life. Do what I tell you and have been telling you in The Revelation I gave your ancestors and of which I've kept reminding you ever since through my servants the prophets."

    - 2 Kings 17:7-13 (MSG)

The Assyrians replaced the Israelites with their own people who eventually followed the model of Israel by worshiping the LORD but also worshipping their own idols, which meant they did not fully give their heart to one or the other.

Reflection and Application

The most important good thing we can do is to keep God #1 in our lives. The worst we can do is to allow someone else to replace God’s leadership in our lives, as the kings of Israel and Judah had done.

Each king learned from his father how to rule and was remembered for his good or evil deeds. We must seek to ensure our children learn of the goodness of God from us and aim to create a stronger relationship with him with each succeeding generation (as opposed to these generations of kings and people, who seemed to be progressively weaker and more estranged from God) .

God gives us many chances to repent, and sends us many messages regarding repentance. One place that these messages for us can be found is in the text of the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. So far, we have read about Elijah and Elisha, but there were many other prophets sent by God during this time period. For example, we will have the opportunity later in the year to read about Amos, Hosea, Joel, and other prophets in future books of the Old Testament.

God gives us messages in the written word of the Bible. He may also send us reminders and specific instructions through people that we know or people we meet. In addition, he may address us directly, calling out our name to correct or encourage us. God is like the ultimate persistent salesperson who does not easily give up seeking us. But if we become hard-hearted and ignore all of these messages, then we become unreachable by God and we will suffer the consequences, just as the Israelites did.

"Jesus in Disguise," performed by Brandon Heath

Questions and Prayers for Further Reflection

    Related Questions
    1. What experiences have you had building or repairing walls or fences?
    2. What people in your life have given you messages that may have been divinely inspired?
    3. How can we help the next generation to exceed the benchmark we have set with regard to our relationship with God?
    Recommended Prayer
    Father in heaven, we acknowledge that you send us messages in many forms. Help us to quiet ourselves to hear what you are saying and then obey it.

    Suggested Prayer Concerns

    Looking Ahead

    Tomorrow's reading: 2 Kings 18-20 (Hezekiah Clears Out the Idols)

    Comments and Questions
    If you have comments or questions, please add them to our Comments page, email to the author at ted@listeningforGod.org, or share your comments or questions via the Listening for God Twitter account

    Click to follow Listening for God(@listeningforgod)